The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND -

FOR a man who detests los­ing, Jaap Stam was re­mark­ably san­guine about his side’s de­mo­li­tion at the hands of Rooney and Co.

Per­haps he was sim­ply soft­ened by the love that flowed from the ter­races. More likely he knew no level of tac­ti­cal tin­ker­ing would have al­lowed his side to com­pete with a United side in such de­struc­tive mood. Yes, the Roy­als could have stuck ten men be­hind the ball. But with Rooney hell bent on Sir Bobby Charl­ton’s scor­ing record and a host of fringe play­ers keen to turn Jose Mour­inho’s head, this ‘weak­ened’ unit was ar­guably more dan­ger­ous than a de facto first XI.

They were too fast, too strong, too sharp. The move­ment be­tween the front four of Mar­tial, Mata, Rooney and Rash­ford too in­stinc­tive.

Too many FA Cup un­der­dogs play safety first, only to bow out with a head full of re­grets. Stam and his play­ers de­serve credit for at least hav­ing a go, how­ever em­bar­rass­ing and in­ef­fec­tive the re­sults.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

SLIDE AWAY: Read­ing’s Danny Wil­liams tack­les United’s Ashley Young. In­set: An­thony Mar­tial scores United’s sec­ond

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